Quick reminder! Our faith-based screening of Free to Ride is this coming Tuesday, August 21st at 1:00 PM. You can learn more and register over on Eventbrite.
Now, on to the news!
AROUND THE REGION
By now, you’ve probably heard that GRTC’s CEO David Green will resign at the end of the month. Green has a long list of achievements to take credit for during his tenure, including the Pulse, the bus network redesign, and new bus stop signage. Filling in for Green while GRTC conducts a CEO search is Charles Mitchell. Mitchell previously served as GRTC’s interim CEO, so he should be familiar with the job!
I’m also sure you heard about the arrival of Bird electric scooters in town over the past couple of days. These little guys are an excellent way to get to or from public transit, helping with the first/last-mile problem. Since the scooter company popped up without giving the City a heads up, their future in Richmond is...uncertain. For now, though, it looks like they’ll keep operating despite City complaints.
If you’ve ever checked the real-time bus arrival information for the Pulse and seen several buses all arriving at the same time instead of evenly spaced every 15 minutes, that’s called bus bunching. It happens for a variety of small reasons that quickly compound over time resulting in a big impact on the bus schedule—like Ian Malcom said in Jurassic Park, “You see a Tyrannosaur doesn’t follow a set pattern or park schedules, the essence of chaos” (but with buses instead of dinosaurs). For an intense and math-heavy discussion of the whys and hows of bus bunching, read this post by transit genius Alon Levy. Luckily, there are some easy things that we can do to ease bus bunching: all-door boarding, bigger buses, bus-only lanes, giving the buses signal priority. Keep this in mind next time you ride the Pulse: The quicker you board, the better the buses stay on schedule—don’t be afraid to get on through the back door!
Fare capping is awesome! I hope that once GRTC rolls out their planned fare technology upgrades later this year—specifically, reloadable tap cards—they’ll consider implementing a fare-capping policy. This sort of policy allows folks who ride the most to get the benefits of the 7-day and 30-day unlimited ride passes without having to drop a ton of cash upfront. It also eliminates the need to do any sort of mental math to figure out if an unlimited ride pass is “worth it.” You just ride, ride, ride as much as you need and you’ll end up with the best deal possible.
Check out this pop-up flower bomb at a bus stop in Everett, Massachusetts. Make sure you watch a bit of the video because the photos don’t do it justice.
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